Mandela service interpreter 'saw angels come into the stadium'

The man accused of faking sign language interpretation at Nelson Mandela's memorial has said he was suffering from hallucinations at the time. South African minister Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu said an investigation was underway into the incident.

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Mandela interpreter brands his detractors 'cowards'

The man accused of faking sign language interpretation at Nelson Mandela's memorial service has branded his detractors "cowards".

Asked what he thought of those people who think he is a "fraud", Thamsanqa Jantjie told NBC News, "They are cowards ... You call me a fraud, take mirror and look at yourself in the mirror and say 'I'm a coward'.

Thamsanqa Jantjie spoke to NBC News. Credit: NBC News

"If you call me a fraud you should have called me a fraud a long time ago, not on that day in question."

Mandela interpreter 'saw angels come into the stadium'

The man accused of faking sign language interpretation while standing alongside world leaders at Nelson Mandela's memorial service has said he was suffering from hallucinations at the time.

Thamsanqa Jantjie said he has schizophrenia and has been violent in the past.

He said he saw "angels" entering the stadium and realised there was a problem, saying, "Sometimes I will see things that chase me. I was in a very, very difficult position."

Mr Jantjie apologised if he had offended anyone, adding, "What I was doing was my calling ,I was doing what I believe makes a difference in the country."

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Crowd told Mandela hearse will not drive through today

The crowd had been dancing and shouting 'Viva' as they waited to see Nelson Mandela. Credit: ITV News/Nicky Russell-Smith

Word has finally reached the crowd in Pretoria that they will not see the hearse carrying Nelson Mandela drive through this evening.

Police line the street in Pretoria where a crowd has gathered. Credit: ITV News/Nicky Russell-Smith

The crowd is now dispersing. The police are dismantling and telling them to line the streets tomorrow morning.

Minister: 'Mistake happened' over Mandela interpreter

A South African minister has admitted "a mistake happened" in the hiring of a "fake" sign language interpreter at the Nelson Mandela memorial service, the Associated Press reports.

Deputy Minister of Women, Children and People with Disabilities, Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu, said an investigation is underway to determine how Thamsanqa Jantjie received a security clearance.

She also said that government officials have tried to track down the company that provided Mr Jantjie but that the owners "have vanished into thin air."

Mr Jantjie, who has been accused of 'faking' sign language at the service, has apologised for his actions and said he suffered a "schizophrenic episode".

Owners of Mandela interpreter firm have 'vanished'

The man (far right) stood next to President Obama throughout his address

The owners of company which supplied the man accused of 'faking' sign language at Nelson Mandela memorial have disappeared, the Associated Press reports, citing a South African minister.

Deputy Minister of Women, Children and People with Disabilities, Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu, the owners "have vanished into thin air."

Thamsanqa Jantjie has said he suffered a "schizophrenic episode" and did not understand the magnitude of his actions.

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Mandela interpreter had 'schizophrenic episode'

The man accused of 'faking' sign language at the Nelson Mandela memorial service has told a South African newspaper he suffered a "schizophrenic episode".

Speaking to IOL, Thamsanqa Jantjie, who stood alongside world leaders and 'signed' at the national service earlier this week, said he doesn’t know whether it was the magnitude of what he was doing or the happiness he felt throughout the day that might have triggered the attack while on stage.

India's President Pranab Mukherjee speaks as Thamsanqa Jantjie 'signs' at the Mandela memorial. Credit: Reuters

Suddenly he lost concentration, and started hearing voices and hallucinating.

He said: "There was nothing I could do. I was alone in a very dangerous situation. I tried to control myself and not show the world what was going on. I am very sorry, it’s the situation I found myself in.”

Jantjie said that although the episode impaired his ability to hear well and interpret what was being said, he couldn’t leave, so he stayed on and continued to sign things that didn’t make sense. He also told the newspaper he takes medication for his schizophrenia.

“Life is unfair. This illness is unfair. Anyone who doesn’t understand this illness will think that I’m just making this up,” he said.

Interpreter's 'gibberish was an insult to our language'

The gestures of a man who was supposed to be interpreting the Mandela memorial for deaf viewers was "talking gibberish", according to the principal of a Johannesburg school for the deaf.

Engrid Parken said she had to leave the room because she was so disgusted by what she saw during the service.

'Fake' interpreter seen signing for Jacob Zuma in 2012

Video posted online appears to show the man accused of 'faking' sign language during Nelson Mandela's memorial 'interpreting' for South African president Jacob Zuma last year.

The footage, apparently filmed in January 2012 at the ANC party's 100th anniversary, shows the man making gestures as Zuma sings to the crowd.

ANC communications manager Keith Khoza told NBC News that the interpreter had translated for party events in the past, but said that the man only “volunteered” and was not paid.

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